Socially Inclusive Practices in the Music Classroom: The Impact of Music Education Used as a Vehicle to Engage Refugee Background Students

Renée Crawford


As schools become increasingly culturally diverse, globalisation and cross-cultural exchange challenge teachers in complex but exciting ways. This article reports on the impact of music education for students in a secondary school in Victoria, Australia. Socially inclusive practices were a focus of the study as the school has a high percentage of young people with a refugee background. A number of school-based musical experiences provided opportunities for cross-cultural exchange and negotiation, and diverse communications are described. Music education was used as a vehicle to engage young refugee background students, which was indicative of three primary themes: personal wellbeing, social inclusion (a sense of belonging), and an enhanced engagement with learning. Key findings from this case study research indicated that a music classroom which fostered socially inclusive practices resulted in a positive transcultural learning space. This research raises important questions about the critical role of music education and the arts in contemporary and culturally diverse school contexts. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)